PH&D in Color Published!

The Frog is finally pleased and able to announce that The Port Huron & Detroit Railroad and Connections in Color 1982-1984 is officially in print and available via Laughing Frog Images and the Laughing Frog Images CreateSpace estore!

This book has been in the making for over 30 years – at least in my mind!  Way back on the last day of the PH&D in December of 1984, the notion that I would be able to scan my PH&D slides at 5000dpi, use software to help compensate for shooting in bad lighting and for my primitive abilities with Kodachrome 64, and self-publish a book was beyond imagination.

PH&D in Color cover proof image 480

This project started out with the intention of being a fine-art book, with a hard cover and printed on high-gloss paper.  As the project grew, so did the price.  While my intentions were noble, it became apparent that I might not purchase my own book because it was so expensive!  So, the project went on hiatus while I searched for a new publishing option.

The passing of the PH&D didn’t get much notice.  Keep in mind that this was back in the days without the internet, without message boards, without email, and cell phones.  So, in a way, this story has never been told.  Telling the story in a way that is accessible to anyone is important to me. And the research continued.

I finally found a publisher that offered a way to tell the story in color and at a price that most everyone could afford. Granted, I had to give up the hard cover and high-gloss paper – it’s a soft cover book on trade paper (and the photo reproduction challenges that go with it), but the story could finally be told.  Naturally, the project that I’d started was in a format that was not compatible with CreateSpace, so I had to start all over again.

And here we are on April 18.

After more digital proofs than I care to think about, and several physical proofs, it’s finally “real”.  I have learned a new appreciation for editors and proof readers, as every time I reviewed a proof, I found something else.  I have now either found everything, or looked at the book so much that I’m blind to any remaining errors.  Somehow, I know when I receive my print copy, something is going to jump out at me…

For the people of the PH&D that I got to know from 1982 to 1984, those still with us, and those who have passed, I am pleased to share with you The Port Huron & Detroit Railroad and Connections in Color from 1982 to 1984.

Laughing Frog Images’ 100th Post!

Well, here we are – post # 100 on Laughing Frog Images.

The Frog’s been a little quiet lately as life and the day job have been busy.  And, there’s been a side project that’s been taking up most of what spare time has been there.

It’s almost time to announce the first book!

It’s a 132-page all-color softcover book on a fallen flag short line railroad.  You’re going to have to wait for the formal announcement for all of the details.

I’d like to thank everyone who reads this blog and follows it on Facebook and Google+, and those who are following it after signing up on Laughing Frog Images to get every post.

I hope that everyone is getting something from the Blog, whether that’s photography tips or ideas, a laugh, or just some time away from reality.

As a small blog and gallery, I do appreciate every “like”, “share” and “follow”.  There is no budget for advertising – this all survives by social media and word of mouth.

The image galleries will continue to grow in terms of number and subject matter.  There’s just so much to scan, prep and post…  Like many, I underestimated the sheer magnitude of what I was getting into.  However, slow growth is better than no growth.

One of the focus areas will be adding to the steam engine galleries before the holidays because, well, who doesn’t like steam engines?  Gallery subjects will include C&O 614 during the Chessie Steam Special era, the East Broad Top, Cumbres & Toltec, Durango & Silverton, and others that I either don’t remember or haven’t found yet.  The images can help you with your holiday giftipation!

Once again, thank you so much for following the Frog and visiting Laughing Frog Images – it’s appreciated.

Stay tuned for the next 100 posts!




Some of our flowers are hosting unwelcome visitors – aphids.

Mrs. Frog purchased some ladybugs to help in getting rid of the unwelcome guests naturally.

It’s really kind of interesting…

The container on the counter that I thought might have been a pint of ice cream for me was actually full of 1500 ladybugs.

So much for the ice cream munchies.

It’s best to release them at dusk when things are cooling off – you set the container near where you want them to go, take the lid off, and the theory/hope is that they climb the plants you want them to climb and either move in or leave their larvae.  In the process, you hope that enough of them stick around for dinner – that being the aphids.


In the process, I thought I’d have some fun photographing the dinner rush.

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So, it was off to get the D5100, the 60mm f2.8 micro lens, the flash and the Gary Fong Lightsphere diffuser (so I would have even lighting and I wouldn’t get any hot spots).

To provide for even lighting, I shot with the flash aimed straight up and let the diffuser do its’ thing.   I know that sounds counter-intuitive – but see for yourself.  It works!  I could and should do a post about this diffuser – it’s a phenomenal addition to the camera bag for anyone who regularly uses any shoe-mounted flash.

From there, I figured out that it’s not as easy as it sounds…

First off, ladybugs have the attention span of a cat.  They don’t stay in one place very long.

Second, I was trying to shoot them with a short micro lens with a flash and with diffuser as it was dusk.  Not the greatest combination.  All of this meant a wide aperture – which also meant my depth of field wasn’t going to be very much.

Let’s just say that I had a less than 5% success rate that night.  I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience, as I’d never tried this before.  This image was made at ISO 100, 1/160 second and f3.5.

I didn’t get any images that will end up in the Galleries on Laughing Frog Images.  But that shouldn’t stop you from paying a visit anyway…!

More importantly, I learned that night.  (I’m not much for reading photography books – right or wrong, I like to learn new photographic techniques by trial and error.  I’ve never taken a class or lesson, so why start now!?

I’ll try this again – but it will be before dusk when there’s enough natural light that I don’t need a flash and can get my aperture above f8 – then I’ll at least have a fighting chance of success.

Fifi in pictures

Fifi is the only operable Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber in the world as of March 2015.

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I was privileged, honored, and fortunate to see Fifi at the Van Nuys Ca Airport as part of the CAF AirPower History Tour.  That event went beyond expectations, as I was able to watch (and smell) her start up (video here) and to see her fly.  I wasn’t able to take a tour, so that remains on my Bucket List, but in no way can I complain about the living history I saw that day.

All images were made in color using a Nikon D-90 and Tamron 18-270 lens.

Then, I did something different for this gallery.

Fifi is a product of the black and white era – black and white television, black and white newspapers, and (predominantly) black and white photographic film.

To maintain the spirit of Fifi’s era, I used two different black and white effects in Perfect Photo Suite 9 by on1 Software to create most of the images of Fifi that I’m sharing with you.

The first is a gritty and grainy effect that mimics how these images might have appeared to the readers of a 1940’s newspaper.  The second is a cleaner effect that mimics Kodak’s legendary Tri-X black and white film.

There are a few color images as well, and these are along the lines of a chrome slide film.

I’m curious to hear feedback about the black and white images, particularly which effect you like better and why.

Instead of placing these images in the Military section of the Planes gallery on Laughing Frog Images, I decided that it was more than appropriate for Fifi to have her own gallery – you can check Fifi’s gallery out by clicking here.

The Commemorative Air Force are the folks that keep Fifi going, and made that day and these images possible.  My thanks to all who make Fifi happen.